After twenty months on top, Avengers: Endgame has lost the crown of the highest-grossing movie of all time (unadjusted) back to James Cameron's Avatar, which has reclaimed the prize it held for a decade from 2009-19.
The move comes courtesy of a reissue of the film in China, which has added $9 million to the 2009 3D movie's total. Although not much in the large scale of things, the gap between the two movies was only $7.8 million. With the reissue expected to remain in cinemas for several more weeks, Avatar may be able to pull out a stronger lead as well, with its total re-release haul anticipated to be around $50 million. Both films have grossed just under $2.8 billion worldwide.
James Cameron will be pleased to retake the crown he'd held of being the world's highest-grossing director for two films back to back. Avatar displaced Cameron's own Titanic, originally released in 1997.
These figures are unadjusted for inflation; so adjusted, the highest-grossing movie of all time would still be Gone with the Wind (1939), although Avatar would still be an impressive second place, ahead of Titanic, Star Wars (1977) and Endgame.
The news will be encouraging to Cameron, who recently wrapped back-to-back shooting on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, which are scheduled for release on 16 December 2022 and 20 December 2024 respectively. Avatar 4 and 5, which have had some material shot for them during production of the preceding two movies, are also greenlit with anticipated release dates in December 2026 and 2028.
Disney, which now owns both the Avatar and Marvel franchises, is of course very happy with the situation.